I still remember my first Meliora Weekend. All of a sudden, my typically mundane campus was bustling with parents and alumni excited to experience everything that the University has to offer.

Somehow the rainy week gave way to a beautiful weekend, the grassy quads were perfectly manicured and each night offered a plethora of exciting activities to take part in.

Looking at the schedule of events, it is clear that this year’s festivities are going to be just as exciting and memorable.

Headlining this Friday night at 7:30 and 10:00 in the Palestra is Drew Carey and the Improv All-Stars, but his witty antics and clever sidekicks are not the only things to look forward to on the opening day of alumni weekend.

A roundtable discussion featuring four accomplished alumni in the field of finance will discuss the current state of the economy. Moderated by William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration Dean Mark Zupan, this dialogue will take place in Hubbel Auditorium at 3:30 p.m.

Award-winning author Alan Burdick will discuss his latest book, “Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion,” at 5 p.m. in the Hawkins-Carlson Room. The senior editor of “Discover,” he also writes for “The New York Times Magazine,” “Times Magazine” and “Natural History.”

The tent that is already arranged on the Wilson Quad will house a College Welcome Dinner at 6 p.m., where old friends, fellow families and students socialize over great food and an open bar.

Don’t waste all your energy on Friday, though, because Saturday is jam-packed, starting with a breakfast at 9 a.m. in Douglass Dining Center with President Joel Seligman and Dean of the Faculty Peter Lennie.

For the Yellowjacket alumni, sporting events will be held throughout the morning for ex-varsity athletes to see if they still have game. The current teams and coaches will have a chance to play against their alumni.

At 11 a.m., Fareed Zakaria will be introduced in the Palestra by his television agent, Richard Leibner, ’59 and the senior editor of Newsweek International Fred Guterl, ’81. Zakaria is the Editor of “Newsweek International”, the host of PBS’ “Foreign Exchange” and an analyst for ABC News. He was named by Esquire Magazine as “one of the 21 most important people of the 21st century.”

After a tailgate party in Friel Lounge hosted by Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity to celebrate their 150th year on campus, the Rochester football team hosts the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at 1 p.m. in Fauver Stadium.

If football isn’t your thing, a Presidential Symposium regarding energy sustainability will take place in Strong Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. and will feature Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu, ’70. It will be moderated by University Trustee and President Emeritus of the University of Chicago, Hugo Sonnenschein, ’61.

Later in the day University alumnus and Harvard Law professor Arthur Miller, ’56, will lead a dynamic roundtable discussion of some of the most relevant First Amendment issues today in Hubbel Auditorium at 3:30 p.m.

Interim Dean of the College Richard Feldman and Seligman will discuss many of the diversity initiatives on and off campus at 4 p.m. in Dewey Hall.

Sunday features the Head of the Genesee Regatta in Genesee Valley Park, where the beautiful autumn foliage will provide the perfect backdrop to mingle with old friends and family as the Rochester crew teams compete.

So congratulations to the class years ending in one or six – have a great reunion. And to everyone else, plan your time wisely!

Check out http://www.rochester.edu/alumni/melioraweekend for a complete listing of events and times.

Paret can be reached at eparet@campustimes.org.

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